Well, I suppose starting December with a blog post on Christmas is not a bad idea. After all, even non-believers tend to get excited about Santa Claus, children and presents at this time of year. (Eggnog and Fruit Cake are still up for debate, though) But using an almost unheard of Old Testament Minor Prophet, Zechariah, for the subject might need more explanation. “Where’s the relevance,” you might wonder. We have been working our way through those hidden gems of the Minor Prophets in our church family, and I believe the message of Zechariah is particularly encouraging for us as we move into the Christmas season. Track with me and see for yourself. (more…)
Thanksgiving? The President pardons a turkey. The Dallas Cowboys and Detroit Lions are always two NFL teams with a game. Celebrities recite the people and events for which they are thankful. But are these famous people truly thankful, or just listing what they are presently happy about? The reality of saying thank you implies that we owe thanks to someone because they have done something for us. So, who are we thankful to? It is good to list people and things we are grateful for. That practice, done regularly, would do well for our present selfish society. But logically, who is it that we owe our gratitude to for providing those blessings we hold dear, and does it matter? Does the divine have anything to do with this? (more…)
When we hear of great men and women of faith, we often think of those who have left a safe and secure life here in America to risk it all on some foreign mission field in a third world country. We can rightly call that what it is – faith! However, Sometimes, the most incredible acts of faith are simply trusting God, even when everything and everyone around you is falling apart. Or at least it appears that way. (more…)
It’s been a week since the terrorist group Hamas launched coordinated rocket attacks into Israel, with ground incursion and, ultimately, the murder of civilians. Almost immediately, the state of Israel declared war on Hamas, and to the moment, events on the ground have been, and are, escalating daily at lightning speed.
In addition to prayer, very few can physically do anything in this unfolding terror of events. But we have some choices in how we respond in our small part of the world in the here and now. Some options are unhealthy, while others are exactly what we need. There are many directions and details, but here are five basic emotions we can sit in or paths we can choose. (more…)
We know their names but probably would have wanted to forget them if we had lived during their time. They had an excellent opportunity to lead their people to glory. Before them was a profound moment to experience the miraculous movements of God. But that’s not what happened. To say they fumbled the ball is an understatement. This was no mere choking in the playoffs. This cost lives. They died, and so many along with them. (more…)
It’s almost impossible to talk seriously about religion without the name of Abraham coming into the discussion. Three of the world’s largest religions, Islam, Judaism, and Christianity, trace their faith back to Abraham, the patriarch. Why is this ancient father such a powerhouse? It’s not because the guy was perfect. That’s seen in many ways, and none the least is that he lied about his wife, not only once, but twice, to save his skin.
Authentic faith was the root of this man’s success with God, which caused him to get up and trust God profoundly. His story picks up in Genesis chapter 12, where God first comes onto the scene of Abraham’s life, and the patriarch launches out in a tiny step of faith after the other. What would it look like if we were to dissect his faith for a moment? In short, it was risky. (more…)